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Tips on how orthopedists can avoid lawsuits

Many orthopedists in Oregon and around the country are fully aware of the risks involved in their profession. Therefore, the latest findings by The Doctors Company regarding medical malpractice lawsuits may be of interest to them.

According to the findings, 13 percent of medical malpractice claims were related to a diagnosis, 16 percent represented surgical patients claiming improper management and 46 percent reflected problems with surgery performance. The report further presented how orthopedic surgeons can improve patient care to avoid being sued by their patients.

Because patients may have difficulties remembering all the information about side effects and risks associated with the surgery, it can be helpful for doctors to ensure their patients fully understand the information by taking time with each of them. Patients who comprehend this information prior to the surgery may be less likely to file a claim against the doctor.

To lower the risks of complications during the patient's postoperative period, the surgeon could reinforce the information regarding his or her recovery and care by using modern ways to communicate such as an iPhone app. For example, the app could be customized to systematically remind patients about warning signs indicating complications, exercise tips and various ways to speed their recovery. Similarly, surgeons should also be open to hearing their patients' complaints, which could signify a more serious physical problem. Additionally, while patients should be educated before and after their surgery, surgeons might also be encouraged to continue their education via training classes. They can attend online virtual reality classes or take part in procedural courses that utilize cadavers to learn new procedures and techniques.

A victim of a surgeon's mistake will often face additional medical bills in an attempt to have the error corrected. Such a patient may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to determine the advisable way to seek compensation from the responsible party.

Source: Becker ASC, "11 key strategies to reduce orthopedic surgery complications -- And resulting claims", Laura Dyrda, Oct.16, 2015

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